This past weekend my fiancé, Brian and I decided to go on a hike at Keystone State Park. My friend, Rachel also wanted to come along, so we all headed out on this adventure together. It was my dog, Rusty’s first hike and it didn’t start off so well considering he got sick in the car. I wasn’t too sure how the day was going to go after that. When we got there we started with the Abandoned Mine Drainage trail (AMD trail) where Keystone’s history comes from. The mine closed in 1953. To read more about the history about the Salem #2 Mine visit: Keystone State Park History. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until I got home that we didn’t actually find the mine itself. We only stumbled upon a small drainage pond and some wetlands. On a positive note, I will be heading back to Keystone State Park this coming weekend, so I will make sure to stop back there and see if I can get a photo of the closed mine.
Our next stop was the Stone Lodge Trail. This was where the fun began. To start off on this trail, we had to climb a very steep hillside. Which, covered in snow, was a bit tricky for us. It was hard to get up the hill because it was very slippery, especially for me because I didn’t have the best shoes on. So I gave Rusty to Rachel and told them I’d eventually meet them at the top. Rusty was having a ball, pulling Rachel up the hill and occasionally turning around to see if I was okay. Once we reached the top, our search began. On this trail, there was a hidden and abandoned springhouse and homestead, but there was no distinct pinpoint where it was, so we had to keep our eyes out. While walking, I got this interesting photo of a tree bent almost at a 90-degree angle. The reason I was excited to see that was because I read somewhere that Native Americans would train trees to bend so they could mark their trails or land. As we continued hiking, we realized the sun was going down fast and I didn’t have that many pictures. I’m not sure about other photographers, but winter is the hardest season for me because I feel like everything just looks bland and dead. Anyway, that’s when we decided to make our way back, so I could, at least, get to the lake and get a shot of the sunset.
When I looked at the map, I told Brian and Rachel to head onto the left trail because that way would lead us out and in hopes avoid going back down the steep hill we had climbed up. Well, when we got to the end point, I had realized the dotted lines I saw on the map were for the power lines. There wasn’t another way out; we had to go back the way we came. So instead of just turning around, we cut across the power line trail to save on time. What we didn’t know was that it was covered with pricker bushes. On the other hand, Rusty was having fun and didn’t care about the minor mishap in our plans. Once we got back onto the main trail, we braced ourselves for the descent down the steep hill. Rachel went first. She actually managed to slide down without falling. Brian took Rusty and went next. He had to drag Rusty because he didn’t want to leave my side. Once they got down, I realized without a doubt in my mind that I was going to fall. So to save any damage to my camera equipment, I sat down and ended up successfully sliding down the hill without injury. I probably should have video taped it. Don’t worry, when we go back this weekend if I have to do it again, I’ll make sure to get it on film.
After all that, we got back to our car and hurried to the lake’s shoreline. Driving down the road, I happened to snag a shot of some ice fishermen on the lake. It wasn’t too cold out, but I sure wouldn’t want to be sitting on the ice. Even though all of this craziness happened, we made it to the lake just in time for me to capture some awesome sunset shots. I may not have gotten a lot of pictures on this first experience, but we all had some good laughs. Rachel enjoyed our pre-adventure craziness, and Rusty was exhausted after. All I can say is that I have a good family that deals with me, great friends who are up for getting lost and laughing it off, and I will surely be heading back to Keystone earlier in order to hike all day and get beautiful pictures! Enjoy these photos that I did happen to capture on our little hike and keep an eye out for my next blog!